SUNDERLAND'S 1-0 victory over then-mighty Leeds United was one of the biggest FA Cup final upsets in history - and the first time a Second Division side had collected the honour for 42 years.

Bob Stokoe's outfit were given no chance against Don Revie's side on this day in 1973, a team who had swept all before them in the preceding five years - a League title, FA Cup, League Cup and two Fairs Cup triumphs.

A European Cup Winners' Cup final appearance against AC Milan was beckoning the all-conquering Yorkshiremen and, as holders of the FA Cup, it was felt all the Whites had to do on May 5, 1973 was travel south, pick up their property and return back up the M1.

How wrong the pundits were! The match entered folklore as sheer exuberance overcame cold efficiency.

Gritty Sunderland took an unexpected lead after 32 minutes when Ian Porterfield hammered home following the Wearsiders' first corner of the match.

Leeds tried to make their class tell but were harried all over the field by the tigers from Roker Park, who forced them into mistakes and broke up their rhythm time after time.

Goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery pulled off two of the best saves ever seen at Wembley as Leeds pushed for an equaliser in the second half.

As The Northern Echo's Frank Johnson said at the time: "Full back Trevor Cherry raced in to connect with a bullet header, which Monty somehow managed to punch away - to the feet of target man Peter Lorimer.

"The Leeds shooting ace cracked in what looked an unstoppable shot. But coming from nowhere Monty twisted himself in the air to push the ball against the bar - and the Roker goal remained intact."

BBC commentator David Coleman thought the Scotsman had equalised.

"And Lorimer makes it one each," he intoned to his watching audience before adding a disbelieving "no." Sunderland had to dig deep to protect their slender lead but Stokoe's side sensed history in the making - and their first FA Cup triumph since 1937.

Johnson, who worked for The Northern Echo for 43 years, 42 of them as Sunderland correspondent, reported: "Dave Watson and his side-kick Richie Pitt were outstanding in the Sunderland defence, blotting out the twin spearhead of "Sniffer" Allan Clarke and Mick Jones.

"Eddie Gray never got going against Dick Malone and Ron Guthrie was great against Lorimer.

"Bobby Kerr was a tireless worker and Mickey Horswill, the 20-year-old dynamo from Annfield Plain, won possession countless times in midfield.

"But the three Sunderland men who did most to torment the First Division big boys were the front three - Billy Hughes, Vic Halom and Dennis Tueart."

In reality, all the Sunderland side were heroes, along with manager Stokoe, who raced across Wembley's hallowed pitch at the end to congratulate his victors.

Sunderland returned to Wearside as conquering heroes and Roker Park flung open its doors for fans the following Tuesday as the Cup found an unexpected home for a year in the North-East.

Sunderland chairman Keith Collings said: "Our team at Wembley was brilliant. I don't think they fully realise what they have done for our town.

"We went out to attack, to make an entertaining game of football and I believe we made one of the best finals for many years." Stokoe added: "This has been a fairytale - and I don't think it could have happened to any other club than Sunderland.

"I am proud and grateful for having such a great bunch of players. They have done a wonderful job not only for the North-East but for football in general."

A shellshocked Leeds were back in action two days after their final defeat, beating Arsenal 6-1 at Elland Road before losing a bad-tempered Cup Winners' Cup final 1-0. Suitably piqued, they ran away with the League title the following season in a triumphant swansong to the Revie era.

But the Sunderland defeat still rankled. "Getting beaten by Sunderland was terrible," said hardman Norman Hunter. "Particularly for me, coming from Eighton Banks!"

"Wor Bobby's Dazzlers", screamed The Northern Echo's front-page headline.

Sunderland were the first FA Cup winners from outside the top-flight for 42 years, and 500,000 people lined the streets as the victorious squad toured from Carville to Roker Park on an open-top bus to celebrate their triumph.

Sunderland: Montgomery, Malone, Guthrie, Horswill, Watson, Pitt, Kerr, Hughes, Halom, Porterfield, Tueart.